Children denied places at Sunderland school

Stacey Veitch with her 4 year old son Peter Rankin who has been turned down for a reception place at South Hilton Primary where he already goes to nursey, he is one of 7 pupils in the same situation and the Headteacher is trying to pursuade the council to allow another class.
Stacey Veitch with her 4 year old son Peter Rankin who has been turned down for a reception place at South Hilton Primary where he already goes to nursey, he is one of 7 pupils in the same situation and the Headteacher is trying to pursuade the council to allow another class.
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A HEADTEACHER today backed parents of nursery children who have been refused reception places at her school.

Families of several pupils at South Hylton Primary School’s nursery were left devastated when the youngsters missed out on places to start in reception class in September.

“Last year a similar thing happened,” said headteacher Julie Cort.

“Because we had the room and enough money in the budget, the local authority said if we got 10 appeals we could take the children, which is what we did.”

Instead of having the regular intake of 30 children, the Union Street school took in 43 and split the youngsters into two small reception classes.

It is believed there are seven families appealing for places at the school this year.

Mrs Cort said that although she is willing to do the same as last year, Sunderland City Council was reluctant to allow the school to take in the extra children this year because there might not be enough pupils to make the move cost effective.

“I do feel very sorry for the parents and I’m supporting them in this,” she added.

“Some of these children have been with us for more than a year and we do see them as part of our school.

“It is very disruptive for the children to have to move.

“A lot of the parents have said they will keep their child in nursery in the hope a place becomes available.”

One of the mums affected is Stacey Veitch, whose son, Peter, has been a pupil at South Hylton Primary School nursery for 18 months.

She said the four-year-old suffers from anxiety problems and finds any change in his routine hard to cope with.

Stacey, 26, who lives in Rosemount, said: “South Hylton Primary is our nearest school, that’s why I put him into that nursery so he wouldn’t have to change schools. I never thought he wouldn’t get a place.”

The mum-of-one said although it is not ideal, if she loses her appeal for a reception place she will keep Peter in the nursery in the hope one becomes available.

The council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Pat Smith, said: “We are aware of the pressure on primary school places in the area and have been keeping the position under review.

“There is no trigger point at which an additional class would be provided, but a detailed assessment of the current position is being undertaken to identify a solution for the near future.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho